Cameron Scott

Solar Cells Made From Bioluminescent Jellyfish

by , 09/08/10
filed under: Solar Power, Water Issues

dye-sensitized solar cells, gfp, green fluorescent protein, oceans, solar power, sustainable design, jellyfish

Swedish researchers have devised a way to turn bioluminescent jellyfish into solar cells. It works like this: the green fluorescent protein (GFP) that makes the Aequorea victoria glow is simply dripped onto a silicon dioxide substrate between two electrodes. The protein works itself into strands between the electrodes. When ultraviolet light is shined on the circuit, voila, the GFP absorbs photons and emits electrons, generating a current.

dye-sensitized solar cells, gfp, green fluorescent protein, oceans, solar power, sustainable design, jellyfish

As much as Inhabitat is skeptical about using animals as raw materials, this is an intriguing discovery because jellyfish are increasingly overpopulating the oceans as the waters become too toxic and acidified for more delicate species to bear. Using them to create carbon-neutral energy could potentially help restore the oceans to balance.

The GFP-powered cells work like dye-sensitized solar cells, but don’t require expensive materials such as titanium dioxide.

Via New Scientist and PopSci

Lead Photo © Ryan Kozie

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4 Comments

  1. ricoo95 December 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I wonder could this be done with other Bioluminescent creatures like fireflies?

  2. aj-kun September 13, 2010 at 5:29 am

    or splice it into the human genome so we can all become like superman(solar powered)

  3. Tc99-m September 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    GFP and the rainbow of GFP derivatives can easily be made using bacteria. Jellyfish are not needed.

  4. Spi Waterwing September 12, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I don’t think they actually need the jellyfish to get GFP; I think it’s been worked into a monkey genome, for instance. It would be pretty trivial to splice the GFP gene into a bacterium and have some sort of extraction system.

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